BRIEFING for Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

Re: Interview with TIME Magazine
Address: City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago
Date and Time: Tuesday, August 11th at 11:30 a.m.
Neighborhood: Loop
Alderman, Ward: Alderman Reilly, 42nd Ward
From: Pat Mullane, Mayor’s Press Office

YOU are interviewing with TIME Magazine's Bill Hennigan for an in-depth piece on Chicago’s violence over the past three months of summer and the latest of how Operation Legend is operating in Chicago. As part of YOUR interview, you will detail the City’s broader efforts to curb violence this year through your all-hands-on-deck approach, reasons for why we think crime has risen this summer and your thoughts on whether Operation Legend has helped in this effort.

For this piece, Henningan has sat down and interviewed with U.S. Attorney John Lausch and ATF’s Kristen De Tineo on the latest regarding Operation Legend in Chicago.

11:30 a.m. YOU arrive.
11:31 p.m. YOU are interviewed by TIME Magazine’s W.J. Hennigan  
12:00 p.m. YOU depart.

• Bill Hennigan, TIME Magazine reporter

Mayoral Staff:
• Pat Mullane, Deputy Press Secretary
• Anel Ruiz, Press Secretary

W.J. (Bill) Hennigan

A native of Chicago, W.J. (Bill) Hennigan covers the Pentagon and national security issues in Washington, D.C. He has reported from more than two dozen countries across five continents, covering war, counter-terrorism, and the lives of U.S. service members. Before joining TIME in 2017, Hennigan worked for more than eight years at the Los Angeles Times.


The story is expected to publish as part of their August issue.

Henningan has been working on this piece over the last month, interviewing several members of Chicago’s communities while also sitting down with U.S. Attorney John Lausch and ATF’s Kristen De Tineo. In late July, Hennigan published a story entitled “How Can 'Hundreds' Of Federal Officers Transform A City With 13,000 Police?, criticizing President Trump’s Operation Legend and his belief that “200 or so federal officers from out-of-town can meaningfully augment Chicago’s police department of 13,000.”


Format: Interview, in-person
Setup: Seated
Visuals: Mayor’s Office
Attire: Business Attire


Strategic Police Deployments
• We adopted a data-informed, all-hands-on-deck strategy that looked at the top 18 beats in the city that drive violence and focused on citywide neighborhood hot spot locations so that we could not only centralize strategic anti-violence missions and deployments but also City resources and societal investments.
• The Department is also conducting strategic police missions to recover illegal guns and build on our gun seizures to prevent shootings before they happen. More than 6,000 guns have been recovered so far this year.

Building Community Policing Efforts  
• As part of a first-of-its-kind effort to build relationships and trust between officers and the communities they serve, the new Community Safety Team (CST) is designed to partner with Chicago’s communities to address violence, neighborhood concerns and ongoing conflicts.
• Led by Commander Michael Barz, the CST consists of nearly 300 officers who will not only be deployed to hot spot areas in the city, but also work with community-based organizations, faith leaders and residents to address the violence.
• Additionally, for the past several weeks of summer, CPD's Community Policing team has held multiple Operation Clean missions across Chicago's neighborhoods.

Enhancing Citywide Coordination
• To better adjust resources in real-time and deploy additional manpower to areas experiencing increased levels of violence, the City has been utilizing its first-of-its-kind Summer Operations Center.
• The new center is staffed by representatives from City departments like CPD, the Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Streets and Sanitation, and more, in a comprehensive approach to broaden the City's footprint in places where shootings and homicides have recently occurred.
Expanding Street Outreach
• As part of our all-hands-on-deck strategy, the City has also expanded street outreach and integrate trauma-informed victim services in Chicago's communities through a $7.5 million investment -- the highest amount of funding these organizations has ever received by the City.
• To build on this, the City last month diverted $10 million in CARES Act grant funding towards violence prevention efforts.
• All of these funds will be targeted in the City’s 15 priority communities, all of which experienced the highest levels of violence in the city over the past three years.

Overview: On Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported about an increase in gun charges processed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office rather than the Cook County Attorney’s Office due to the Operation LeGend initiative that President Trump announced weeks ago. Under Operation LeGend, all gun arrests will be directed to federal agents first, giving them the right of first refusal in deciding whether to bring charges, as opposed to directly to the County.

Last week, it was reported that Trump’s Operation LeGend is charging more gun cases at the federal level rather than at the County. As someone who has criticized the criminal justice system at the County-level, are you happy to see this?
• What I’m happy to see is that the past few weeks have not been what happened in Portland.
• But rather what we’ve seen are additional resources into existing federal agencies that already work with the city, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
• While we're not going to put anything past this administration, I have confidence and trust in U.S. Attorney Lausch and his assurance that these federal resources are here to coordinate and partner with our local police department on gang and narcotics investigations as well as to assist in prosecuting gun arrests at the federal level.
• As I said weeks ago, should the Trump Administration foolishly try to usurp our local authority, I will not hesitate to take decisive action to stop this unwanted ad dangerous intrusion.

Have you been in touch with the Trump Administration since the start of Operation Legend?
• I’ve been in close communication with U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who I've personally known for more than 20 years and who this City and its police department have years of experience partnering with on public safety operations and investigations.
• I have the assurance of U.S. Attorney Lausch that these federal resources are here to coordinate and partner with our local police department on gang and narcotics investigations as well as to assist in prosecuting gun arrests at the federal level.

Has Operation Legend changed this summer’s violence numbers at all since it has started?
• Look, I think we’re too early into the process to start making any claims like that.
• What we’ve seen so far are more resources at the federal level being used to promote multi-agency coordination with our police department so that we can further identify, arrest and prosecute gun offenders in the federal courts.
• However, should circumstances change, I will not hesitate to take decisive action to stop any unwanted and dangerous intrusion.
• That is why we are constantly monitoring these agencies to ensure that if anything remotely resembles the unconstitutional, undemocratic actions taken in Portland, we will put an end to it immediately.

You’ve been clear about the type of response you don’t want from the federal government. But what beyond Operation Legend do you want from the federal government?
• I have been clear that our city's gun control laws are only as effective as the laws in states that border us. 60 percent of firearms owned or used illegally recovered in Chicago come from outside Illinois. These guns don’t recognize state lines or city boundaries.
• As long as people can drive from Illinois to Indiana and purchase a personal arsenal without a background check, Chicago’s gun laws will always be as weak as those of the closest permissive state.
• We urgently need help at the federal level to stop the flow of weapons that turn conflicts lethal.
• We need to close the loopholes that allow people to purchase deadly weapons without a background check.
• We need to end the proliferation of assault weapons, which only exist to inflict maximum damage on large groups of people.
• And we need to enact strong anti-trafficking laws and enforce them.
• Prior to Operation Legend and what’s happened in Portland, I was clear that President Trump needed to empower the ATF to conduct anti-trafficking investigations so we can stop these guns from coming over our borders.
• I also want to reiterate that the only way to curb violence in our neighborhoods for the long term is through all-hands-on-deck partnerships with not only our law enforcement partners and agencies but also street outreach teams, victim service providers, community-based organizations and all of Chicago's residents.

Yesterday, following widespread looting downtown, you called on the State’s Attorney to fully prosecute these offenders. Do you believe that her decision not to prosecute those arrested back in May had anything to do with criminals feeling emboldened to act again?
• This is not just on the State’s Attorney, it’s on all of us. We’re not in the businesses of playing the blame game and I’m not going to be baited in doing so.
• I implore our leaders at the state and federal levels to do everything they can to ensure those who perpetrated these crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
• We have made the case, we have the video, we have officer testimony – now it’s time for them to be held accountable.
• In Chicago, there is a strong belief that there is no accountability through our criminal justice system.
• Let be clear, no one wants to hold people in jail because they are poor, but people who engage in this kind of criminal activity need to be prosecuted.

The Chicago Tribune published an article yesterday, stating that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is dropping felony cases involving charges of murder and other serious offenses at a higher rate than her predecessor. What’s your reaction? Is this why Operation Legend is needed?
• Look, I’m not going to comment on the specifics of those numbers as I don’t have access to those felony cases,
• What I will say is that we must do better as a city, county and country when it comes to holding violent gun offenders accountable.
• This is not something that’s new but rather an issue I’ve worked on since the first months of my administration.
• Last year, we launched GunStat meetings, which are designed to work closely with U.S. Attorney John Lausch and Cook County State's Attorney Office to ensure violent offenders are held accountable within the criminal justice system.
• By tracking gun offenders from their arrest, prosecution, sentencing and ultimate release, this collaborative effort is designed to identify trends, strengths and address any weaknesses within the criminal justice system.

The State’s Attorney is saying that the narrative of a revolving criminal justice door just doesn’t exist in the data. What’s your response?
• We continue to welcome all data presented by the State’s Attorney. But let be clear, one violent crime is one too many, and even one repeat violent offender back on our streets is one too many.
• Look no further than last two weeks, when a paroled felon with a history of violent offenses, who was just one month off of electronic monitoring, opened fire at a police district, injuring three on-duty officers.
• We will continue to work in partnership with our criminal justice partners to ensure violent gun offenders are held accountable so our communities remain safe.